The faded Serra Museum mural at Hazard Center.

If these photos appear strangely dark, that’s because I’ve increased contrast to bring out the details of a badly faded mural.

This large old mural was painted on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping center in 1996 by an artist whose signature is Duff. The artwork faces the San Diego River and is exposed all day long to the sun.

That building you see in the mural is the Junípero Serra Museum. It stands across the river several miles to the west. The museum’s tower (which is often mistakenly thought to be the San Diego Presidio) can be seen rising above trees from various spots in Mission Valley.

Do any of you know who the artist Duff is? I can find nothing by searching the internet. I documented another Duff mural in Mission Valley, which was painted beneath Friars Road, here.

Please leave a comment if you know anything more!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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Artists exhibit Explorations in Urban Sketching.

Are you intrigued by the process of human creativity?

Answer yes, and you need to check out an exhibition in Gallery 21 in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.

Explorations in Urban Sketching brings together the work of the San Diego Urban Sketchers.

Quick renderings of scenes provide a sense of how very talented artists might glimpse this beautiful and complex world during a walk through life. Many of the images are of familiar San Diego locations.

Some of the works in different media appear like very brief sketches, while others works seem a bit more detailed.

Your eyes will move from piece to piece as if you are viewing ephemeral dreams– each canvas providing a unique moment of wonder.

Like a fast sketch this exhibition also ends soon–it runs through October 9th, 2022. So you better go check it out before, like a dream, Explorations in Urban Sketching vanishes.

Explorations in Urban Sketching is in memory of Dominique Eichi, an artist who shared a studio in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Famous artwork in an unexpected place!

Works of fine art by internationally renowned artists can be found in San Diego in one very unexpected place.

Amazing pieces by the likes of Donal Hord, William Hogarth, and Alfred Mitchell are displayed in the Special Collections Center at the downtown Central Library, and in its adjoining Hervey Family Rare Book Room!

I ventured up to the Central Library’s rooftop 9th floor yesterday and gazed briefly up at the building’s nearby dome and across San Diego’s South Bay. Then I stepped through the door of the Marilyn & Gene Marx Special Collections Center and was introduced by a friendly librarian to a few of the exhibits inside.

Above shelves in one corner hung half a dozen gorgeous paintings, including several by Alfred Mitchell, whose pieces I’ve also admired in fine art museums.

In the museum-like Rare Book room, display after display celebrated the history and work of diverse artists, printers and writers.

When I saw an absolutely incredible rosewood sculpture by Donal Hord, my mouth dropped open.

On another wall were several famous engravings by William Hogarth!

Westwind, Donal Hord, 1953. Rosewood.

Morning (from the series, The Four Times of the Day), William Hogarth, ca. 1822. Engraving and etching in black ink on buff paper.

Noon (from the series, The Four Times of the Day), William Hogarth, ca. 1822. Engraving and etching in black ink on buff paper.

Spring Fields, Alfred Mitchell, ca. 1929. Oil on board.

Autumn Sunshine, Alfred Mitchell, ca. 1924. Oil on canvas.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

SD Art Prize 2022 Exhibition at the Central Library.

The four recipients of the 2022 San Diego Art Prize–Alida Cervantes, Angélica Escoto, Carlos Castro Arias and Cognate Collective–now have pieces of their visual artwork on display in the 9th floor Art Gallery at downtown’s Central Library.

The four artists explore aspects of our region’s history and culture. Of course, today’s border culture has been greatly cross-pollinated by thousands of residents flowing daily to and from the United States and Mexico.

As you might expect in a contemporary exhibition of this type, there is infusion of political bias. But it’s a variety of viewpoints what makes free expression in art interesting and provocative.

I was fascinated to see how art that condemns the history of colonization is displayed next to art that celebrates the fusion and evolution of cultures. On either side of the San Diego/Tijuana border crossing, many of today’s traditions have influences that can be traced back to old Spain.

Walk among the gallery pieces and perhaps you’ll see the world in new and complex ways.

The exhibition opened over the weekend. It will continue through the end of 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Chula Vista remembers When Heroes Fall.

A memorial to fallen San Diego County law enforcement officers stands across an outdoor plaza at the City of Chula Vista Police Department.

When Heroes Fall…We Remember was created by Chula Vista artist Mark Martensen in 2004. A central bronze sculpture depicts two bowed officers facing a curved wall.

Beneath fluttering flags, the black marble wall is engraved with the names of heroes from different law enforcement agencies throughout the San Diego region who’ve given their lives in the line of duty.

The moving memorial is the work of the San Diego County Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.

If you know more about the creation and history of this particular memorial, please leave a comment.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Three cool murals during an Ocean Beach walk.

Enjoy photos of three cool murals I spotted during a recent Ocean Beach walk.

The above mural must be relatively new. It’s by Cong Nguyen (@KINGNCONG). You can find it on the side of the OB Noodle House and Sake Bar on Cable Street. This mural replaced a long-time OB girl mural that I photographed here. (It’s the first photo you’ll see in that old blog post.)

The next mural with a big colorful parrot was painted last year on the Ocean Beach Hotel by the amazing local artist team of Carly Ealey and Christopher Konecki.

Finally, check out this cool alley mural I must’ve missed back when I photographed the “Hippie Dog” here. It’s on another side of the same building!

This awesome bee lady artwork was painted by Celeste Byers back in 2017.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Famous head pokes above freeway wall!

Driving north on Interstate 5 near Old Town, have you glimpsed the top of a huge head poking over the freeway wall? Just past the Courtyard by Marriott?

It’s the curly-haired head of Michelangelo’s famous sculpture David!

The Head of David mural was painted on the side of an apartment building back in 1984 by San Diego Mesa College physics student Jeff Sale. The entire mural used to be visible from the freeway, until a wall was built by Caltrans that conceals much of it. You can read an old article concerning the artist and his creation here.

Yesterday I walked through Old Town to see if it’s possible to get photographs of the two story high Head of David from a spot away from the freeway. By standing in the cul-de-sac just north of the Marriott, I took these pics.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Giant jaguar spotted near San Diego freeway!

For the past several weeks, a gigantic jaguar has been spotted in Barrio Logan! It lurks right next to Interstate 5, just south of the ramps to the Coronado Bay Bridge.

Have you seen it yet?

The giant Jaguar mural was recently painted on the side of a building by the artists of Ground Floor Murals.

I took the San Diego Trolley to Barrio Logan early this morning to see the big cat myself, and to take these photos from across the freeway.

Enjoy!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Pandemic art: Paintings from the Confinement.

The COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for all of us. Tragically, many would not live through it.

We all remember the long days of uncertainty, fear, loneliness, forced isolation.

If you head to Balboa Park today, you need to stop by the San Diego Museum of Art to experience Paintings from the Confinement. Today is the final day of this emotionally moving exhibition.

I viewed the small egg tempera paintings, created by San Diego artist Marianela de la Hoz, at the urging of my museum docent friend Catherine.

The images are symbolic, spare, often grim. There is darkness. There are claustrophobic spaces. There is flat human life on small cold screens. But there are a few rays of hope beyond the confining walls. Thank goodness those walls have now mostly come down.

The artist found it hard to honestly paint her many feelings. In particular, it was very hard to portray death.

In her statement, Marianela de la Hoz explains the only treasures I have are my loved ones, family, friends, and art; everything else remained as non-essential.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Wild beasts invade San Diego Museum of Art!

The Clearing, André Derain, circa 1906. Oil on canvas.

The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park has been invaded by wild beasts!

Les Fauves is French for Wild Beasts, and paintings by early 20th century artists known as the Fauves are running rampant in one amazing gallery!

These particular paintings are part of a wider exhibition titled Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation. I visited the San Diego Museum of Art back in May and blogged about the exhibition here.

During my visit yesterday, my docent friend Catherine took me through several of the museum galleries and explained how Impressionism evolved into Post-Impressionism and other avant-garde movements.

Fauvism was a modern movement that shocked art lovers in France between 1905 and 1908. It was led by Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck.

Looking at these canvases, museum visitors can see how the Fauves loved strong contrasts, saturated colors and bold brush strokes producing abstract, often weirdly unexpected forms.

Trees can appear as gangly streaks of pure color. Thick smudges and dabs of paint create startling still life images and brilliant landscapes.

In a strange way the dreamlike effect is similar to the gauzy, delicate work of the Impressionists. The viewer feels the momentary impression of a place or object. But these particular dreams are quite vivid!

The more I looked at these unique works, the more I appreciated the artistry and visionary genius of the Wild Beasts.

Head down to the San Diego Museum of Art and experience this famous artwork with your own eyes!

Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation was to end in August, but it has been extended through October 10, 2022.

The Gulf, Henri Manguin, circa 1920. Oil on canvas.

Still Life with Fish, Maurice de Vlaminck. Oil on canvas.

View of Chatou, Maurice de Vlaminck, circa 1907. Oil on canvas.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!